Pearson Adult Learning Centre HomePearson Adult Learning Centre: Tips for Writers by Brad Hyde

 

editpaper

Problem Pairs in English

English has quite a number of close (in sound and/or spelling) word pairs that can cause quite a lot of confusion for both readers and writers.

Here are two common problem pairs:

“The speaker was so nauseous that it made the new student feel nauseated.” As you can see, the word nauseous means to cause illness; on the other hand, the word nauseated refers to the feeling of sickness (oftentimes caused by the nauseous person!).

“If you want to wreck a party, make sure to invite some badly behaved people who are willing to wreak havoc.” Thus, wreck is the result of the wreaking, although the two words do not share the same origins in language.

(May 15, 2011)

See our most recent tips.

Tips from November 2001 to April 2002

Tips from September 2000 to October 2001.

Tips from January to August 2000

Tips from January to December 1999